Happy St. Nicholas Day
December 6 is the day to celebrate St. Nicholas Day, known here as “Nikolaustag”. On the night of 5th December (St. Nicholas Eve) children put their shoe or boot outside the door, a tradition practiced in many other European countries. According to a German legend, the spirit of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, goes from house to house on this night carrying a book of sins in which all the actions of the year of all children are written. It is said that St. Nicholas fills the shoes of all good kids with delicious treats and places twigs in the shoes of all naughty children.
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th.